Doctors, parents and public health experts gathered in Lansing with one simple message: vaccinate your children.
Monday marked the launch of the “I Vaccinate” campaign. It’s a multi-media advertising and educational campaign aimed at raising the state’s immunization rate. Michigan is currently ranked 43rd in the nation for immunization rates among children 19 to 35 months.
Veronica McNally started the Franny Strong Foundation, a partner on the campaign, with her husband after their daughter caught whooping cough and died. McNally says “I want parents if they have concerns to get answers to their questions so they can make the best choice to protect their children.”
The campaign is all about empowering parents, McNally adds. “Everyone wants to do what’s in the best interest of their children, and we know that, and we hope that this is an empowering message for them and that they can get what they need and really we can protect Michigan children together.”
Dr. Mike Stiffler says the campaign might not be able to convince hard-core anti-vaxxers, but they do hope to reach parents who are on the fence about vaccinations. Stiffler said more vaccines means healthier kids. “We don’t see as many children on the pediatric floor that we used to,” Dr. Stiffler states. “I don’t think [it’s] because our population’s decreased that much. But I think it partly comes down to vaccines.”
Michigan currently allows for philosophical and medical vaccine waivers, but if a parent wants to opt out for a non-medical reason they have to talk to a public health provider first.